Who will lead the car industry in future?


Companies as Tesla had been a first disruptor of the car industry, as they made electric vehicles attractive. Self-driving companies can further disrupt the industry. The question is, what will be more relevant in future for the automobile, the hard- or software? Related to this, which companies will stay or become the big players?

Automobile Engineering
Autonomous Vehicles
Patrick Henz
60 months ago

6 answers


No one seems to consider all of the existing vehicles on the road today. I drive a diesel vehicle with emission below the 2022 levels already mandated. If I trade this car in for an EV, it will cost me a lot of money.

Lithium ion batteries don't last forever. What is the environmental impact of their production and disposal and is it larger than the impact from the internal combustion engine?

Hydrogen fuel cells appear a much better option but the large auto companies have opted for EV. Will this be right? We'll see!

David Cottrell
60 months ago
David Cottrell , thanks for your comments! I see that Toyota is experimenting with Hydrogen. If a big player as them would offer this for consumers, other may follow. - Patrick 60 months ago

Tesla no doubt will be one of the major leaders with startups trailing in the wind. It will take years for the large auto makers to transition into high tech manufacturing. It wouldn’t surprise me if the automakers invested in acquisitions whether it’s start up car companies and/or marketing focused collaborations with technology companies. There are more companies working together from different industries with the purpose of disrupting the market with powerful solutions for today’s tech savvy consumers.

John Streich
60 months ago
John Streich some big players develop e-cars soon to hit the markets, including Volkswagen and Daimler Benz. It will be interesting to observe this to understand how big Tesla's advantage then still is; who will win the market, the innovator or the fast second. - Patrick 60 months ago

I believe the Electric car is future as we are moving towards emission control etc. About Hw or Sw I would say we will focus more on HW rather than SW. Among Electric and Driverless, it is going to be the first then second, We will still have to rely on our own guts and intelligence while on road rather than car taking or software taking the decision.

Masarrat A Shah
60 months ago

In the short term, we are already seeing lots of hype around self-driving cars, but in reality, not much is available yet and the big players are going to remain as they currently are. But if we look at the longer term (from 5 to 20 years), then the car manufacturers who are bringing "real" self-driving cars in the first place will abruptly change the industry.

Tesla and Waymo have very good and loud marketing departments. However, many consumers are already getting disappointed by seeing that current systems are not yet fully automated. According to SAE levels, Tesla is only providing SAE level 2, which is definitely helpful while in the highway, but the driver still needs to be present and looking at the road. The same applies to Waymo, who provides rides as a self-driving car, but there is always a person in the driver seat.

The real breakthrough comes with SAE level 4 and 5. From level 4, the driver may be sleeping and in level 5, there is no driver needed at all. Daimler and Bosch are working together to bring robo-taxis in the early 2020's. They promise SAE levels 4 and 5, and if they deliver what they promise, we will very soon start moving exclusively in cars without a driver, as this removes the labor cost. This of course does not really apply to countries with low labor cost, at least during the first years.

Once self-driving cars are stablished, manual cars will be banned from the open streets as they will be comparatively more dangerous, polluting and expensive.

My answer: In the long term, the winner will be the car makers who release first real self-driving cars. Any car maker who is not able to follow will disappear in very short time after that. Electric or combustion engines will not determine the future, as both variants are not a challenge for the auto industry.

Carlos Hernandez-Vaquero
60 months ago
Carlos Hernandez-Vaquero , thanks for your answer! Maybe it will be hybrid development, as autonomous cars may work together with LioDAR-technology, so only truly be autonomous on such an infrastructure. - Patrick 60 months ago

Software could be the next step, hardware was already well developed. Companies as Tesla are disruptors but we still need time to have more affordable products. Electric vehicles are still too expensive, it takes a while to re-charge batteries and locations to do it are not so frequent in every area.

Paolo Beffagnotti
60 months ago
Paolo Beffagnotti , thanks for the answer! Yes, so far only Nissan offers with the Leaf an affordable product, Tesla still focus on customers with a higher budget. - Patrick 60 months ago
unfortunately the autonomy of the car is still very limited - Paolo 60 months ago

Tesla will be among the leaders in the car industry that's the easy one. I think some of the current large auto manufacturers will cross over and continue to lead in future - Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai have the chance to emerge as leaders. The issue of hardware versus software may end up creating some very surprising joint ventures or mergers. Will Apple or Google get in to the business and if so can they do it alone or would it be better pairing up with an experience company. The key when talking about the future is scope. How far into the future? As we look further out there is likely to be vehicles that are more like hover craft or some other land, air, sea hybrid and could see some of today's aviation companies making what we currently call an automobile.

Anthony J
60 months ago
I would not be that fast with conclusions, we still have to see how the mechanical quality of the Tesla cars are, so something which could be answered in 5 or 10 years. - Patrick 60 months ago
Of course quality matters but Tesla is pushing the envelope and I believe will lead through innovation even if they can't execute on manufacturing. - Anthony 60 months ago
Patrick Henz Looks like the recent production numbers at Tesla support your point. - Anthony 60 months ago
Anthony Jaccarino , in general many messages regarding Tesla are going to extreme, once the savor, once a failure. For a young company they are on a good way, but as they are coming from the software sector, it is important to see how they manage the physical part. Also of course, relevant how will be the "fast seconds" like VW or Daimler. Also inside the race: Nissan and Toyota (Hybrid). - Patrick 60 months ago

Have some input?